In a historic move today, The Satanic Temple has been recognized as an official church by the IRS. This is the first time that any religious organization under a Satanic heading has been given this distinction in the US.
This gives the church, which began as a socio-political organization, a host of benefits to aid in their quest to insure the separation of church and state. It will also aid their constant quest to underline the fact that religious freedom means freedom for all religions, not just those of Judeo-Christian lineage.
Lucien Greaves, the head of The Satanic Temple, said in a statement:
“In light of theocratic assaults upon the Separation of Church and State in the legislative efforts to establish a codified place of privilege for one religious viewpoint, we feel that accepting religious tax-exemption–rather than renouncing it in protest–can help us to better assert our claims to equal access and exemption while laying to rest any suspicion that we don’t meet the qualifications of a true religious organization. Satanism is here to stay.”
Ultimately, Greaves may be right. As an established, recognized church, not only will they qualify for that tax exempt status, but it will strengthen their own claims when they find themselves in courts across the country. When someone says “religious freedom under the law,” that now includes The Satanic Temple and their tenets whether the opposition likes it or not.
The Temple itself is actually a non-theistic humanistic order with a set of Tenets that actually make a lot of sense when one looks beyond their sometimes shocking iconography.
In case you’re curious, the Seven Fundamental Tenets of the Satanic Temples are as follows:
- One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
- The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
- One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
- The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one’s own.
- Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.
- People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one’s best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
- Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.
The Satanic Temple is the subject of a new documentary, Hail Satan?.
For more information on the Temple, you can visit their official website.